Diet has been on my mind lately. And not for the reasons you may suspect…
For the past couple of years, most of the clients I’ve worked with have had to make radical (and I mean radical) changes to their diets in order to have any chance of optimizing how they feel.
Changing your diet is not easy, but it can be made more… palatable, if you know WHY you need to make the changes.
If you, as a client, or a DIYer, make intelligent changes to the foods you eat, you can go from making no progress with how you feel despite taking all the herbs and doing all the things – to making great strides all with food changes. (Improve your energy levels, sleep quality, memory and focus, etc.)
Every single one of my clients who is a success story has committed to shifting their diets. Every single one of my clients who has not made progress with me did not change their food intake.
And it’s no accident: we are what we eat!
Let’s talk about Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Autoimmunity and Chinese Medicine.
How the diet positively impacts your health, and how Chinese Medicine parallels with Autoimmune conditions (in particular: Hashimoto’s).
I’m also going to share some of the ways Chinese Medicine gets it “right”. And where a lot of folks go wrong in their interpretation of Chinese Medical wisdom.
Some background: I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (Hashi’s) in 2017/2018. Nearly two years prior to my Hashi’s diagnosis, I had been instructed by my very wise acupuncturist to quit eating dairy, gluten, simple carbohydrates (think: white sugar, white rice, flours, etc.), alcohol, coffee and chocolate.
The list, I admit, was hugely daunting.
And I complained about it a lot to my practitioner. And my former-husband complained a lot too – for he was in for the ride as I was the household’s cook! But… I went ahead and followed his instructions.
I tried to find loopholes, such as: “can I still have ghee?”, “what about gluten free bread and baked goods?”, “how about decaf coffee?”, “can I still have a glass of wine or hard cider here and there?”, “can’t I still have pizza every so often?” No. No. No. No. No…
Insert: temper tantrum crying on the floor emoji here.
My acupuncturist, bless him, remained firm in his approach and I complied. I’m glad I followed his instructions because I am so much better for it.
So for any of my clients out there reading this, who don’t believe me when I say, “I TOTALLY get it. It’s overwhelming, you can have meltdowns and freakouts, but keep going. It WILL get easier, you WILL feel better.” Know that it will get easier, and you will get better. It just takes… time.
Because I was so determined to find loopholes, I wrote a paper about what these sorts of “elimination diets” can bring to the table in terms of Chinese Medicine. I wanted to understand WHY I was being asked to give these foods up. (If you want to read the article, you can buy it here, or become a member and get access to it here.)
Now it’s time for me to share with you how this sort of dietary shift benefits those with autoimmune conditions (in particular: Hashimoto’s) from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
First… what is Hashimoto’s?
The Reader’s Digest version, from a physiological standpoint:
Hashimoto’s is a chronic inflammatory state of the thryoid, resulting in what’s called autoimmunity.
Autoimmunity is, essentially, when your body uses its own immune system (antibodies) to attack the body.
In the case of Hashimoto’s, the immune system is attacking the thyroid as if the thyroid were a pathogen (ie: virus, bacteria, etc.).
This creates inflammation, which results in the thyroid being unable to produce enough hormones. Thyroid hormones comprising of the following: thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4), tri-iodothyronine (T3).
This in turn leads to hypothyroidism. Because, hypothyroidism is the state where not enough thyroid hormones are produced for optimal functioning.
If not caught early enough, the pituitary gland keeps telling the thyroid, “hey! We need more TSH because we need more T3 and T4!” The body increasinly stresses out in this condition, and in response to this stress… autoimmunity sets in. And, eventually…
Hypertrophy of the thryoid glandular tissue (also known as: goitre, an enlarged thyroid gland).
((You can get deeper into this if you want – there’s a lot available online.))
The good news in all of this is you can catch Hashimoto’s before the thyroid hypertrophies with some very simple bloodtests.
And you can calm the autoimmune response using food, herbs, and supplements!
You are not doomed to feel like a tired piece of old and worn out crap for the rest of your life!
Chinese Medicine shines in helping to determine which herbs to use, and which foods to eat and avoid!
In part 2, I’ll share the the primary symptoms you’ll find with Hashimoto’s autoimmunity – and what tests to ask from your MD.